Many years ago, when folks did not have the plumbing in their homes that we enjoy today, most families took a bath once a week. Even when I was a child we bathed once a week, usually Saturday evening, to prepare for Sunday. But, we were challenged to have a Quiet Time every day where we read the Word of God to cleanse our inward lives.
Today, times have changed. Now that we have showers, everyone enjoys a shower every day to cleanse their bodies, but many only have a spiritual shower once a week, often a little face wash which they let the pastor give them as they listen to his sermon! They don’t even wash themselves!
Clean the inside first!
We could not imagine going around dirty without washing our bodies, and yet we have no compunction about leaving our souls dirty. Just as we like to have a daily shower, it is even more important to daily wash the inward man. Often the inward man gets dirtier than the outward man. Each one of us faces daily challenges in life where we are tempted to be angry, bitter, hurt, upset, cantankerous, grouchy, complaining, proud and rebellious—and so the list goes on. What a filthy inside! We really cannot survive without a daily bath of the inward man, can we? Otherwise our sins and the contaminations build up and we become a “bad smell” in our own home!
Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees? “Cleanse FIRST that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:26) Read also Hebrews 10:22.
The Word of God is the water that washes us. Ephesians 5:26 says, “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Take a bath, not a face wash!
The word ‘washing’ in this Scripture is the Greek word, loutron (the verb is louo) and it means, “to take a bath, to wash the whole body and not just a part of it.” It speaks metaphorically of washing every part of the inward man—our heart, soul, spirit, mind and emotions. It’s a whole bath, not just a face wash.
I find that if I do not personally read God’s Word each day that sin can build up in my life and I am not even aware of it. But when I read the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the things that grieve Him and which pollute my soul. I am convicted to repent and cast them from my life so I can keep my inward man clean. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Sin will keep you from the Word of God,
or the Word of God will keep you from sin.
I love the adage, “Sin will keep you from the Word of God, or the Word of God will keep you from sin.” This is a good one to teach our children, isn’t it? I grew up on this. As soon as your children can read well, encourage them to have a daily Quiet Time. Show them where to read and teach them how to hear the Holy Spirit speak to them as they read. Teach them that it is as important to wash their inward man each day as it is to wash their body.
Perhaps you are young mom with lots of little children around you. How do you get time to read the Word? I know it is not easy. I remember when I had three children under 17 months, and then four children under four! Help! How could I find time to read the Word? I did it by putting my Bible on my windowsill, usually open to Psalms or Proverbs. I could look up from doing dishes and preparing vegetables to read a Scripture. You may like to have a Bible in the toilet or bathroom. Keep a Bible in the spot where you like to nurse your baby. Read a few Scriptures to your children at breakfast time and then again at your evening meal. Keep their souls as well as their bodies clean, too.
Which do you wash the most?
Your outward man or your inward man?
Jesus said, “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)
NANCY CAMPBELL, Above Rubies